Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Working women are killers

Noam Kirson, a graduate student at Harvard, reports:
This paper finds a strong positive correlation between female labor force participation and negative health outcomes for middle-aged men and women, and suggests that this correlation is mediated by household-level stress. At the cross-country aggregate level, I show that labor force participation of women is associated with increased mortality rates among both men and women. At the individual level, I find that married men whose spouses work are more likely to die within 10 years, to have high blood pressure and to self-report worse health outcomes. The findings do not appear to be the result of reverse causality. The mortality effects, both aggregate and individual, are especially large for deaths from ischemic heart disease, while weak to moderate for cancer. These findings match well with the medical evidence on the link between stress and health.
At a recent faculty meeting where this new research was discussed, one of my colleagues turned to Guido Imbens, husband of superstar (and presumptive workaholic) Susan Athey, and said, "Guido, you're a goner."

By the way, Noam has been one of ec 10's great teachers and is now on the job market.